Changes to Medicare Rx Drug Coverage Spark Concerns
Seniors enrolled in Medicare prescription drug plans can expect to see higher costs as they enroll in plans for next year, but costs still will be below the levels projected for 2008 when the drug benefit was launched three years ago, the Ventura County Star reports.
Nationwide, the average cost of Medicare prescription drug plans in 2008 will be about $32, compared to the $41 that was expected for 2008 when the benefit was launched.
Along with rising costs, advocates say changes in coverage and the elimination of current plans have made it more confusing for beneficiaries to choose a new plan. Beneficiaries have until Dec. 31 to enroll in or change their Medicare drug plan.
Medicare counselors contend that seniors who do not explore their options and remain enrolled in their current plan could end up paying more for more limited coverage.
In California, beneficiaries who stay with their current plan can expect to pay up to 31% more in premiums next year, according to a study from the California HealthCare Foundation.
Some analysts say that as Medicare Part D enters its third year, companies are basing premiums and copayments on the actual costs of the program rather than on projections (Kisken, Ventura County Star, 12/5).